Frank Svetlik
Child Pornography Defense Attorney
Contact us for a free consultation

The attorney who was originally arrested on state child pornography charges found himself in peril of considerably more harsh sentencing potential when the state charges were dismissed...

Article by Attorney Frank Svetlik
April 5, 2022

The attorney who was originally arrested on state child pornography charges found himself in peril of considerably more harsh sentencing potential when the state charges were dismissed, and the Federal law enforcement officers arrested him charging him with producing child pornography. The news release copyrighted by CBS Broadcasting which was first released on June 17, 2021 is an example of how accused persons in these situations are vilified in the press which knows literally no boundaries in reciting what the authors of the published article have gathered as information about the accused and his activities whether those action have any bearing on the actual charges being asserted against the arrested individual.

In this instance the article asserted that one of the underage young women in an image obtained by the investigators had been asked by the accused to engage in sexual activities by the accused. Although sex with a minor is obviously not a permitted act such an allegation as published has the unfortunate effect of creating the impression that the accused is guilty not only of that with which he is charged—producing child pornography—but also of the other offenses of having sex with a minor or soliciting a minor for sexual activities for which he will likely never be charged. But the harm of guilt by accusation will have been accomplished and can never be undone. Make no mistake about it the responsibility for that damage to the presumption of innocence does not lie totally at the feet of the reporter and news organization which published the news report. The information carefully calculatedby the forces of law enforcement to create an image of the accused as a degenerate ready willing and able to engage in many forbidden and unlawful acts was provided to the news organization by either those law enforcement organizations or the attorneys working with the government agents in prosecuting the charges. Some restraint on the part of the law enforcement organizations and the prosecutors in not releasing a series of facts known only to them and perhaps to the accused would go a long way in ensuring that the presumption of innocence of the accused is not simply overwhelmed by such prejudicial material. The practice of encapsulating all of these hearsay statements in an affidavit filed with the court and thereby having them become a part of a public record is a well-establishedprocess. The law enforcement establishment has no difficulty in having such documents made the subject of requests to be kept sealed and out of the view of the public in many investigations where it serves their purposes. That procedure could appropriately be followed here where the subject of the injurious statements and allegations, the person arrested, has not had time to engage counsel or evaluate the harm of the contents of the affidavit.

When a case reaches trial in a court the judge may rule that the allegation of soliciting sex with a minor is more prejudicial than it is evidentiary of the charge of producing child pornography and not allow testimony about the unconnected alleged solicitation of a minor for sex to be heard or considered by the jury. However, in a country with a free press there is virtually no restraint on prepublication content and once those allegations have been published the harm will have been done. In order to preserve the presumption of innocence of the accused some restraint on the part of the agents of the fourth estate is also called for notwithstanding what the law enforcement system feeds to it.